|Born|| 2 October 1942 |
Bangalore, Mysore State, British India
|Occupation||Actress, Producer, Dancer|
Asha Parekh (born 2 October 1942) is a Bollywood actress, director, and producer. She was one of the top stars in Hindi films from 1959 to 1973.
Asha Parekh was born into a middle-class Gujarati family on 2 October 1942 in Bangalore (present-day Karnataka) to a Hindu father who was from Paldi near Pirana, Ahmedabad, Gujarat and Muslim mother, and her religious upbringing involved worshipping Sai Baba. Her mother enrolled her in Indian classical dance classes at an early age.
Parekh started her career as a child artist under the screen name Baby Asha Parekh in the film Aasmaan (1952). Famed film director Bimal Roy saw her dance at a stage function and cast her at the age of twelve in Baap Beti (1954). The film's failure disappointed her and even though she did a couple more child roles, she quit to resume her schooling. At sixteen she decided to try acting again and make her debut as a heroine, but she was rejected from Vijay Bhatt's Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959) in favour of actress Ameeta, because the filmmaker claimed she was not star material. The very next day, film producer Subodh Mukherjee and writer-director Nasir Hussain cast her as the heroine in Dil Deke Dekho (1959) opposite Shammi Kapoor which made her a huge star.
The film also led to a long and fruitful association with Hussain. He went on to cast her as the heroine in six more of his films: Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Teesri Manzil (1966), Baharon Ke Sapne (1967), Pyar Ka Mausam (1969), and Caravan (1971). She also did a cameo role for his film Manzil Manzil (1984). He also got her involved in distribution of films for 21 years, starting with Baharon Ke Sapne (1967). She was primarily known as a glamour girl/excellent dancer/tomboy in most of her films, until director Raj Khosla gave her a serious image by casting her in tragedienne roles in three of her favourite films: Do Badan (1966), Chirag (1969), and Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978). Director Shakti Samanta gave her more dramatic roles in her other favourite films, Pagla Kahin Ka (1970), and Kati Patang (1970), the latter earned her the Filmfare Best Actress Award. Many important directors repeated her several times in their films, such as Vijay Anand, Mohan Segal and J.P. Dutta.
Asha acted in her mother tongue Gujarati by starring in three films at the height of her fame in Hindi films, the first film being Akhand Saubhagyavati (1963), which became a huge hit. She also acted in some Punjabi films, such as "Kankan De Ohle" (1971) opposite Dharmendra and "Lambhardarni" (1976) with Dara Singh and the hit Kannada film Sharavegada Saradara (1989).
After her days as a leading lady ended, she took on supporting roles as bhabhi (sister-in-law) and mother, but she called this the "awkward phase" of her career. So she stopped acting in films, and her friends recommended that she become a television director. She took their advice and became a television director in the early 1990s with a Gujarati serial Jyoti. She formed a production company Akruti and produced serials like Palash ke Phool, Baaje Payal, Kora Kagaz and a comedy Dal Mein Kaala. She was the president of the Cine Artistes' Association from 1994 to 2000. Asha was the first female chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (Censor Board) of India. She held the post from 1998 to 2001 for which she received no salary but plenty of controversy for censoring films and for not giving clearance to Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth. Later, she became the treasurer of the Cine and Television Artists Association (CINTAA) and also was later elected to be one of its officebearers.
Asha stopped acting in 1995 to pursue directing and producing television serials, but her acting accomplishments were not forgotten as she received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. And she has continued to receive other Lifetime Achievement Awards: Kalakar Award in 2004; International Indian Film Academy Awards in 2006; Pune International Film Festival Award (2007); Ninth Annual Bollywood Award (2007) in Long Island, New York. She received the Living Legend Award from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry(FICCI).
In 2008, she was a judge on a reality show Tyohaar Dhamaaka on the Indian entertainment channel 9X.
Asha has remained unmarried, claiming that her reputation of being unapproachable made people hesitate in asking for her hand in marriage. There were rumours that she was romantically involved with her married director Nasir Hussain. In her later years, Asha said that she had a longtime boyfriend but declined to elaborate on the relationship, only stating that "it was nice while it lasted." She said she hadn't seen Nasir Hussain the last year of his life, as he became reclusive because of his wife's death, but she did speak to him the day before he died in 2002.
Today, she concentrates on her dance academy Kara Bhavan and the Asha Parekh Hospital in Santa Cruz, Mumbai, named in her honour because of her many humanitarian contributions.
Asha Parekh has acted in 90 films.
Awards and nominations
- Filmfare Award Nomination as Best Actress for Chirag(1969)
- Filmfare Best Actress Award for Kati Patang(1970)
- Filmfare Award Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for Udhar Ka Sindoor(1976)
- Filmfare Award Nomination as Best Supporting Actress for Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978)
- Padma Shri awarded in the Arts (1992)
- Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (2002)
- Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association(IMPPA) felicitated Asha for her outstanding contribution to the Indian film industry (2003)
- Kalakar Award--Lifetime Achievement Award (2004)
- International Indian Film Academy Awards for outstanding achievement in Indian cinema (2006)
- Saptarang Ke Saptashee Award (2006)
- Gujarati Association of North America (GANA)'s First International Gujarati Convention-Lifetime Achievement Award (2006)
- Pune International Film Festival—Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)
- Bollywood Award—Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)
- Living Legend Award from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry(FICCI).
- Film Federation of India honoured Asha at its Golden Jubilee celebration ceremony-(2008)
- Sahyadri Navratna Award given to Asha for being a "woman of substance" (2008)
- Solitaire for Life Award from the ABN Amro Solitaire Design Awards show (2008)
- Nashik International Film Festival-Lifetime Achievement Award (2009)
- 'Lachchu Mahraj Puraskar' Award for Asha's contribution to dance and acting (2009)
- 40th International Film Festival of India felicitated Asha for completing 50 years in Hindi cinema (2009)
- 'Legends Live Forever Award' from the Immortal Memories Event (2009)
- Golden Laurel Award—Ninth Gr8 Women Achievers Awards (2010)
- Prakarti Ratan Award (2010)
- Jaipur International Film Festival—Lifetime Achievement Award (2011)
- Legendary Icon Cine Artist Award-Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards (2011)
- Sanskriti Kalashree Lifetime Achievement Award-Sanskriti Cultural Foundation (2011)
- Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar Award-Dadasaheb Phalke Memorial Nashik International Film Festival (2011)
- Bhishma Award by the Ashram Arts Academy (2012)
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